No HSE statement on Portlaoise hospital protest but praise for pilot project at Tullamore hospital

It has made the shortlist

The HSE has issued no statement on the protest by thousands of patients against the proposal to downgrade of Portlaoise hospital but has issued a press release highlighting an 'excellence' award nomination for a Tullamore hospital pilot project.

The says the Trauma Assessment Clinic at Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore (MRHT) has been recognised for its excellence and innovation as part of the Health Service Excellence Awards. 

Over 300 projects from all around the country entered the 2017 Health Service Excellence Awards and 11 of those projects got through to the final shortlist after a rigorous selection process. The annual awards are open to all staff working in the publicly funded health system.

Commenting on the awards, Tony O’Brien, Director General of the HSE said: “The Health Service Excellence Awards are designed to identify and recognise the real value we place on excellence and innovation across all of our health service.”

The HSE says the Trauma Assessment Clinic has introduced a 'new care pathway' for patients to improve care in the fastest time in the most appropriate setting.

So far, the HSE says that 'pilot project' has seen a total of 1,668 patients. Of these, 30% are discharged at the initial stage, 40% are referred on to an appropriate clinic or a follow up trauma clinic, and 30% are referred onto physiotherapy services.

It says this means that 60% of patients do not need to attend the fracture clinic and can be discharged at a much earlier stage. The HSE says this has led to a big improvement from how patients were previously treated, with 100% of patients attending hospital clinics.

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and lead of the initiative, Dr Eoin Sheehan said staff are are delighted to be shortlisted for this award and very proud that our work will be recognised and shared as best practice across the health service.

"This process works. It reduces the amount of time a patient attends a clinic, freeing up valuable clinical time for patients with more serious injuries and making more time for the elective schedules.

"Patients with fractures who present at Tullamore Hospital’s Emergency Department are initially assessed; those with the simplest injuries are provided with information on their treatment and sent home, with medical follow-up guaranteed within 24 hours," he said.

“The Trauma Assessment Clinic is a new care pathway for patients at MRHT aimed at improving the patient’s experience of care, by ensuring they are treated in the fastest time in the most appropriate setting. I would like to acknowledge the support we have received from hospital management, the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, and the National Clinical Programme for Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery. The opportunities are endless with this model of clinical care and its simple format is easily transferable to another speciality or hospital site."

Commenting on the Trauma Assessment Clinic’s shortlisting for the national award, Orlagh Claffey, General Manager of MRHT said this is a great result for the team.

"We have a dedicated team of expert clinical staff who have worked hard to get this project off the ground. The results speak for themselves," she said.

While no patient survey is quoted, the manger said the project has "dramatically improved the patient experience—something we at Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore are always working to do".

The Trauma Assessment Clinic is run by Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeons at MRHT with the service using a team approach which includes a consultant, a junior doctor, a clinical nurse specialist and a physiotherapist to review each patient’s case. 

The Trauma Assessment Clinic will be represented at the Health Service Excellence Awards ceremony in Farmleigh in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on December 14 where the Overall Winner will be announced, along with the Popular Choice Award, the Best Team Project Award winners.

Staff across the health services also have an opportunity to vote for the Trauma Assessment Clinic in the popular choice category by clicking here. Voting closes on December 8. 

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